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Continuing my experiments with smaller guitars led me back to the 19th century and the instruments made by Louis Panormo. One of his guitars, made circa 1840, is in the Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments and, rather helpfully, a workshop drawing is available. I had other assistance too. My friend, Peter Barton, who makes fine acoustic guitars in Addingham, West Yorkshire has a Panormo guitar in his collection, which he generously allowed me to handle and photograph. And Gary Demos has a series of photographs documenting his construction of a Panormo guitar copy on his website.

Here are some photographs of the instrument as it was being built. It isn’t, and wasn’t intended to be, a slavish copy. I felt no need, for example, to reproduce the inexplicable scarf joint at the heel end of the neck that was indicated in the drawing of the Edinburgh instrument and that you may just be able to see below in the Panormo guitar owned by Peter Barton. In the photograph, it runs more or less horizontally from where the neck joins the ribs to the back of the neck, ending around the 7th fret position. (Do tell me, if you understand why Panormo did this.)

I also felt free to to inlay spalted beech for the rosette instead of the mother of pearl set in mastic of the original.

I did however, reproduce the V-joint between the neck and headstock, although the width of the headstock itself was increased slightly to accommodate modern tuning machines. Followers of this blog might recall an earlier post about making the V-joint.


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The bridge design is more or less the same as Panormo’s, except that a slot was routed for a carbon fibre saddle to provide a little leeway for adjusting the action later on. His bridge has no saddle. Ebony bridge pins were turned to replicate the original way of fixing the strings.

Here are 3 photographs of the completed guitar. The body length is 450mm, width across lower bout 290mm and scale length 630mm.


 

You can hear Gill Robinson, who now owns the guitar, playing three short pieces if you click on the titles below.

Allegro

The rain it raineth

Caleno costure me

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6 Comments

    • Wouter Hilhorst
    • Posted September 11, 2010 at 10:28 pm
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    • Reply

    Maybe Panormo wanted to save wood with his scarf joint? He would need less wood for the neck if he could make the high portion from a separate block.

    • Christopher Martyn
    • Posted September 12, 2010 at 8:06 pm
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    • Reply

    Yes, I guess it must have been for reasons of economy but it still puzzles me. A long scarf joint would waste quite a lot of wood. Maybe it’s just that the built-up method of constructing the heel of a guitar hadn’t been invented?

      • Michael P. Nalysnyk
      • Posted November 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm
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      • Reply

      It does seem a little odd. You do find a similar joint in French Romantic Guitars of the same period – a long scarf joint, not as lengthy as the one that Panormo did. The construction sequence is shown in the Sinier de Ridder book. It can even be used as a way of controlling neck angle, although I’m certainly not suggesting that is how they did it. Of course the French makers were not using the same slotted heel joint but perhaps Panormo was influenced by them and distrustful of the shorter scarf/built up method.
      Just a theory.

    • Wouter Hilhorst
    • Posted September 20, 2010 at 10:47 pm
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    • Reply

    Panormo could have been more economical indeed. Maybe he felt the heel of the neck needed this long scarf joint to resist the tension of the strings, or found this more elegant than a built-up heel (the idea of a built-up heel might not even have occured to him)? Or could it be a repair?

  1. beautiful slotted headstock with the reverse radius at the top

  2. Thanks Dude


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. By Wood for guitar making « Finely Strung on 19 Aug 2011 at 4:30 pm

    [...] the Madagascan rosewood for this nylon string guitar and the beautiful walnut for this copy of a 19th century guitar by Panormo. These boards aren’t quite as large as those in Runk’s photograph but they’re [...]

  2. By Capos and cejillas « Finely Strung on 09 Aug 2012 at 9:42 pm

    [...] the cejilla. Nowadays, they’re mainly used by flamenco guitarists, but a friend, who plays a copy of a nineteenth century guitar, thought that it would be nicer to have a capo that was plausibly of the same period as her [...]

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